I NEVER WANTED THIS!!! I didn’t want to be natural! I accidently grew my natural hair out!!
This……this is a story of a Mississippi girl and her hair. Mississippi weather…for all women….no matter her race…is the worst. But when you’re a Black woman trying to battle humidity, you’re likely to encounter the fluff of cotton candy on top of the noggin. It’s rather disturbing. Thank goodness for chemical relaxers or otherwise known as perms. Now…perms for white women and black women are different. The chemicals in “perms” for Black women are meant to “relax” the roots of the hair and straighten the hair for a manageable, more silky look.
Yeah….a relaxer….the best thing to happen to me. And to be honest, when I was growing up in the late 70s/early 80s, this was the only type of hair I saw on television that didn’t tangle and moved like rolling water flowing from a spring off the scenic Old Port Gibson Rd. And all the women in my community were sitting in a chair on a hot Saturday getting their hair straightened via hot comb or a relaxer. So, of course, I wanted my hair relaxed.
All I ever knew about my hair as a young girl was that when my mom washed it, it seemed hard to detangle and I was very tender headed. And I knew there was a difference in the texture of my hair and the texture of my maternal grandmother’s hair whose you could comb through with no struggle. But that wasn’t my hair. My hair needed detangling, straightening and assistance of curlers to curl my hair. So the day a relaxer touch my roots was a blessed event.
I went 36 years with the mentality that I needed my hair relaxed because my hair was nappy. However, in the past several years, Black women have been wearing their hair in its natural state. In the quest for healthier living, Black women have been removing the process of applying harsh chemicals to their hair and boldly displaying styles of their natural hair…curly, coily, wavy, coarse. Social media has been documenting it all and Black women have shared their experiences and I’ve watched with pride in my culture and swore…….”I’m never going natural. I love the ‘creamy crack’ (as coined it in the movie Beauty Shop).”
Well, I watched my daughter start her process of allowing her hair to grow the chemical relaxer out. It took about a year and her wavy natural hair came through. Meanwhile, I was having an AWFUL time with my hair during that same year. I had worn hair styles with hair extensions sewn in for about 3 years prior which meant my real hair stayed braided all the time. And believe me I kept the relaxer in while wearing the sew in styles. But, what I discovered about my hair after not doing sew ins any longer, my hair wouldn’t straighten like it used to when relaxed. What the heck was going on?! I needed my roots not to remain wavy but to straighten like it used to. So, during this same year my daughter was growing hers out, I cut my hair into a super short style out of frustration.
GREAT!! My hair is cut and my hair has always look sharp with a relaxed short hair cut. I’ve solved the issue with my hair….cut really short in the back. chemically relaxed and slicked down. YES!!!! So, why hours later upon receiving a relaxer, the back of my really short, relaxed, slicked hair was curling up? At my next hair appointment, I explained what was happening and I asked my hair stylist to please shave it down lower in the back. Let’s try this again. So, why was the back of my even shorter, slicked, relaxed hair curling up in the back? What’s really happening? The more this happened and the more the roots of my hair would not straighten and begin to puff in the top of my head and curl in the back of my head in a matter of days from being relaxed, I had to come up with a plan. AH-HA!!! Back to sew-ins!!!!
For six months, I wore what we call protective styles. Crocheting hair in and wearing sewn in hair. I really don’t know what my plan was for my hair while I wore the protective styles. I just knew I was frustrated with how my hair was reacting and I didn’t have a clue what was going on neither did my hairstylist have an explanation. While I wore the protective styles, the back of my hair grew out and amazingly, it was growing out CURLY underneath the long sewn in extensions!! What the what?! And, when I took my sew-in out, the rest of my hair had grown so much, there was only about 3 inches of chemical relaxer left. Uuuuhhh…sooooo….I CUT IT OFF!! Yes! I cut the rest of the relaxed hair off!
I NEVER WANTED THIS!!! I didn’t want to be natural! I accidently grew my natural hair out!! But, what was super surprising was after I shampooed and conditioned the natural state of my hair, this coily and curly hair texture was there. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS! MY HAIR AIN’T NAPPY!! Who would’ve thunk it!! So with the awesome encouragement of a great daughter who went to cosmetology school and her classmate who’s a great cosmetologist in a salon, I’m finally going to embrace my natural hair with a curl definition to help my natural curl pattern along and a bold new cut and color.
What’s the moral to this long story? Never say what ya not gone do! LOL! Like all things in life, things change. My hair texture when I was a young girl could have NEVER withstood this Mississippi heat and humidity without the help of a chemical relaxer wearing the styles I wanted to wear. Not even in this year, 2018, did I want to be this girl with the natural beautiful curl pattern in this pic. But, now, she is my inspiration and my hair is different and in its natural state, I’m willing to see what bold new adventures my hair and me can get into as we go about traveling down these roads documenting Mississippi in its natural state.
It’s Fall in Mississippi where things definitely do change like the color on the leaves and looks like the color on my hair too. It’s time for the new, new! So, let’s do it!